The Vampire Diaries season 6 episode 5 review: The World Has Turned And Left Me Here

The Vampire Diaries continues its winning streak with another episode that harks back to the show's early, great days...

This review contains spoilers.

6.5 The World Has Turned And Left Me Here

This show should never have been about Elena. It started off being about Elena, quite understandably, because the Vampire Diaries books were told from her point of view. The show adopted this and peppered early episodes with annoying voiceover diary entries, but it soon became clear that the audience were actually more attached to Damon and Stefan, not the go-to heroine they were being offered.

She has her fans, obviously, but the series found its genius through the relationship between the Salvatore brothers and how both Katherine and Elena interrupted their bond. It was compelling and interesting and something we hadn’t seen explored before on television, the sheer ridiculousness of the situation only elevating the soap opera familial politics between them.

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Somewhere along the way, the show lost that core, but that final moment of this episode, The World Has Turned And Left Me Here, proved once and for all that season six has every intention of getting it back. Damon’s now back in reality and, despite his proclamations that he would go straight to Elena’s side as soon as he was free of 1994, it was actually Stefan who was there to greet him.

That moment between them at the very end, even if it hadn’t capped off another excellent episode of the show, might have single-handedly made this an excellent episode of the show.

But there were all kinds of goodies on offer, and this would have served as a pretty strong mid-season finale had it aired closer to Christmas. We had Caroline/Stefan bickering, Bonnie/Damon bonding, Liv/Tyler hysterics and Elena actually staying out of the main drama for once. Then there was Alaric, who still doesn’t have a handle on the whole vampire thing.

He has a love interest, which is nice, but past experience has taught us that getting romantically involved with Alaric is a dangerous game to play. Jo seems nice, but I wonder if Alaric’s inability to compel her away was an indication of her own supernatural secret, or just a clue that the no-magic Mystic Falls spell is starting to spread a little further. Or maybe love conquers all, even vampire compulsion?

We left Stefan last week with the newly-turned Ivy and, in true Stefan form (at least this season), it takes him approximately 10-minutes to pass her off as someone else’s problem. What makes the whole thing worse, wheelie bin aside, is that the someone else he decides to hand her over to is Caroline, who isn’t too pleased with him right now.

That’s also true of Alaric, who gave him some home truths about abandoning his brotherly duties in a way that might actually have broken through his veneer of nonchalance. That was a great scene, if only because we very rarely get to see those two interact. Alaric is the adult presence on the show, but he’s still so much younger than most of the characters.

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For the first time in – well – for the first time ever, I’m actually enjoying a Tyler storyline. Having him plough through a cornfield party (another Mystic Falls special) and kill a bunch of people just to activate his werewolf curse would have been silly and obvious but, though it was still a little silly, where the plot eventually went was so much better. Most people were already on board with Tyler and Liv, but having her put an injured victim down just so that he wouldn’t activate his curse was brilliant.

Now they’re bonded forever in the worst way, and Tyler’s angst has a legitimate reason behind it. Liv is also more interesting now, though I wish we had seen more of Luke this season.

The biggest reason the episode felt like a finale was the fact that Damon actually escaped the perpetual 1994 world, leaving Bonnie behind with a psychopathic, desperate Kai. To be fair, he didn’t do it on purpose, and my guess is that the writers will be cashing in on the popular pairing by having him desperately search for her in a way the others really haven’t bothered to.

The worst thing the show could do would be to forget about the bond they forged over the last few months, but I don’t think that’s how it’ll play out.

And it isn’t as if Elena is sitting around waiting for his return, as she’s now had a taste of what not being in love with an immortal serial killer feels like. She hasn’t had that since before season one started, when she was with sweet, adorable Matt, and it would make sense for her to stick with the new guy rather than go back to the pain and trauma of dating a Salvatore. They’re cute but, as with Jo, he’s probably just vampire fodder.

Another week, another great episode, and this season is even making me like characters I’ve previously had no time for. There’s a sense that the writers and producers have gone back over the summer and identified what was so great about early seasons, and that has meant that so much of that great stuff has been injected back into the show. Now that Damon’s back, let’s hope it continues.

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